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EMF Studies

20 February 2012

Who is Really Guilty?

This article about the asbestos and mobile phone industries was recently posted in French on the Website of the Swiss electromagnetic advocacy group, ARA (Association Romande Alerte aux Ondes Electromagnétiques) - www.alerte.ch.

Who is really guilty?

The condemnation of the two former directors of Eternit in Turin on 13 February 2012, based on their responsibility for the deaths of nearly 2,900 persons in Italy, gives cause for reflection.

According to journalists from the RSR (Radio Suisse Romande), this is the first time that a high-level director of an important company has received a criminal conviction by judges in Europe .  Professor François Iselin of the EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), relativizes this affair.  Interviewed by the RSR, he stated that the number of victims of asbestos in the world is probably ten times higher and that certain countries continue to produce asbestos with impunity! 

What is particularly troubling about this affair is that the directors of Eternit have been aware of the dangers of asbestos during the last 50 years.  They denied and minimalized the problem without taking sufficient measures to protect their workers.  Professor Iselin believes that all potentially carcinogenic products should be more strictly regulated.  Apparently, industry is not sufficiently ethical to regulate itself.  According to the professor, the issues of nanoparticles, GMOs (genetically modified organisms), radioactivity, mobile phones etc. are similar to that of asbestos.  Who is really guilty?


Certainly, the leaders of industry are primarily responsible because they place unlimited potentially carcinogenic products on the market.   They shamelessly maintain that proof of the danger of their products is inadequate.  For the mobile phone industry, the lie continues:  “no link of cause and effect between exposure to radiation and health has been established”.  The consumer believes he/she is sheltered from all danger, just as the workers of Eternit in Italy.  In fact, industrialists know the truth.  Insurance companies know it because for a long time they have no longer been covering the risks related to electromagnetic pollution.


And of course, science has been aware for a long time.  Regarding asbestos, the first scientific reports on carcinogenic effects date from the 1960’s.  Nevertheless, several countries such as Canada, Brazil and India continue to produce asbestos while denying its danger.  Fortunately, there are persons like Professor Iselin who dare to mention the subject in public.  During his interview with the RSR, he revealed that scientific information “remains confined to scientific publications that no one reads and which do not have any political, syndical or economic impact…”  The fact that science depends largely on financing from industry further weakens the position of scientists.


The wave of liberalism pushed to extremes continues to weaken governments and political power.  In Switzerland, political parties are infiltrated by economic interest and most politicians maintain their image by avoiding unpopular measures which could compromise their election.  Our politicians, however, seem to be aware of the issue of electrosmog.  During a survey of candidates up for election in 2011, conducted by the electrosmog umbrella association for Switzerland and Liechtenstein, more than 90 per cent replied, “Yes” to the question:  “Should the public be better informed about the potential health risks of electrosmog?”  Of course, this percentage is not totally indicative, given the number of candidates who did not reply to the survey.  It is true that the standards in Switzerland of the levels of radiation are stricter than those of many European countries.  In reality, these norms are not adapted to the pathologies appearing at much lower levels.  In addition, there is too little reinforcement of these standards in the field.  During this time, industry, judges, and doctors continue to refer to these inappropriate standards, leaving the victims of electrosmog in a position of disarray, without possibility of recourse.  The recent research programs on health effects, financed by the Swiss government, have unfortunately not been conducted with strict objectivity.  This research has confirmed, however, some alarming observations.

You and I

Yes, you and I are equally guilty.  I do not like the word “consumer” because it makes me think of a glutton, with neither brains nor willpower. Consumers, however, “vote with their pocketbooks”.  You and I can favor the purchase of healthy goods, avoiding dangerous products.  We are, however, too often tempted by objects of prestige which finally are often useless.  The Australian economist Clive Hamilton writes, “People buy things which they do not need, with money they do not have, in order to impress people they do not like.”  Where is happiness in this logic?  Yes, I, the author of this article, equally share this guilt.  I am a geek (passionate about computers and technologies) and I was one of the first to adopt new technologies until the day, two years ago, an electrosensitive friend died from a brain tumor.  I am still passionate but I avoid being a glutton.

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